Irish designers lead the charge for Autumn/Winter at Arnotts
The captivating canvases and striking colours at the Dublin City Gallery, which houses the foremost collection of Irish and international modern art in the country, provided the perfect backdrop for Arnotts as it rolled out its new Autumn Winter 15 collections.
Being Monday, the gallery, which is home to the Hugh Lane collection, was closed to the public and the Henry Street department store took over the space to introduce us to the winning looks in its new season's offerings which, appropriately, contain a deft sprinkling of Irish offerings.
Caroline Kilkenny's bodycon gold star dress was awesome in its simplicity and the flattering, glittering fabric drew gasps of admiration, not just for its sexy silhouette and metallic impact, but for the nicely tailored price tag of €230, accessorised with a Lulu Guinness clutch (€150) and a €100 faux fur collar from the label Blanche in the Brambles.
Natalie B Coleman is the newest recruit to join the stable of Irish designers at Arnotts, which includes names like Peter O'Brien and Liz Quin and new names like Caroline Matthews.
Natalie's grey organza dress (€1,000) found a perfect mate in an Emma Manley grey embellished coat (€595).
After a sensational first season trading at Arnotts, Umit Kutluk returns with some seriously impressive tailoring including a fuchsia caped dress (€1,065), the epitome of modern feminine dressing with a nod to the 1950s.
Prices at the show oscillated from designer luxe to the impressively affordable Selected Femme label.
The face of retail on Dublin's northside has changed big time this month with the closure of Clerys, and Noel Smyth's Fitzwilliam Finance Partners winning the battle for control of Arnotts by reaching agreement to acquire its rival US group Apollo's 50pc stake.
Ray Hernan, CEO of Arnotts, said yesterday that the real positive for the retailer was that it would have one owner in Noel Smyth and could now finally move forward with plans to develop the iconic store.
"Noel wants to invest in it and develop it as a one-stop destination for retail. He is not looking at this as just property, he sees this as a huge opportunity to really develop and push forward the Arnotts brand within the city."
Mr Hernan said: "The current structure and management teams stay in place and Noel says he is the owner."
He added Mr Smyth was "very categorical on that."